Every year, thousands of Americans die due to drug overdose. In order to address this nationwide epidemic and potentially save lives, lawmakers everywhere are creating new laws that enforce harsher consequences for those convicted of drug possession, distribution, and the intent to distribute. One of the many new laws in Louisiana that’s designed to further punish drug dealers who cause serious bodily injury or death from distributing deadly opioids is Millie’s Law. Below, our legal team explains everything you need to know about Millie’s Law in Louisiana, including the story of the woman the law was named after.
If you are facing drug charges in Louisiana, it’s crucial for you to hire the best possible legal representation, because state laws are getting stricter and penalties are getting harsher. Call Baton Rouge drug crime lawyers at the Law Offices of Ossie Brown today at 225-343-1111 today.
How Many People Die From Fentanyl Overdose Every Year?
It’s no secret that drug overdose is one of the leading causes of death among American adults today. According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 106,699 drug overdose deaths occurred in 2021, with more than 75% being caused by synthetic opioids like fentanyl.
Fentanyl Overdose in Louisiana
Fentanyl overdoses have unfortunately become a common issue in Louisiana as well, with thousands of people overdosing and dying over the past few years. According to a WAFB news article, there have been 161 fentanyl overdose deaths in just East Baton Rouge Parish between the months of January to August 2023.
According to East Baton Rouge Sheriff Sid Gautreaux, the East Baton Rouge Narcotics Division has seen more than 20,000 pressed fentanyl pills and more than 30 pounds of fentanyl since the start of 2022. This is enough drugs to potentially kill 150,000 people, which is double the amount of people that can fit in a packed Tiger Stadium on a Saturday night.
The moral of the story is that the drug overdose epidemic in the U.S. is a major problem, and it will not slow down anytime soon unless lawmakers take action.
Lillie Camille “Millie” Harvey’s Story
Lillie Camille “Millie” Harvey is one of thousands of young Americans who have died from drug overdose.
Millie Harvey was a 28-year-old Louisiana woman who tragically died in Alexandria City Park in February 2017 from an overdose of heroin laced with fentanyl. Kendrick Davis, the man who dealt the laced drugs to Harvey, is now facing a 20 year prison sentence for committing negligent homicide, dealing fentanyl, and possessing a gun as a convicted felon.
Harvey’s mother, Lilly Harvey, has since started a nonprofit organization called “Millie Mattered” with the goal of raising awareness about the growing drug epidemic in our state and nation.
What is Millie’s Law in Louisiana?
Millie’s Law, also known as Senate Bill 315, was signed by Governor John Bel Edwards in June 2022 and went into effect in August 2022. This new law states that anyone who deals fentanyl (or drugs laced with fentanyl) that causes severe bodily injury or death will face harsher penalties than before.
Before Gov. Edwards passed Millie’s Law, the penalty for people who distribute fentanyl-laced drugs was 5 to 40 years in prison and a maximum fine of $50,000. Now, under Millie’s Law, offenders will face 10 to 45 years in prison and a maximum fine of $100,000. At least 5 years of this sentence must be completed without the benefit of parole, probation, or sentence suspension.
Another similar law, known as House Bill 90, was passed by Gov. Edwards and went into effect Tuesday, August 1, 2023. This law provides enhanced penalties for the possession and distribution of specific weights of fentanyl.
- 28 Grams or More: The first offense of possessing more than 28 grams but less than 250 grams of fentanyl can face 7 to 40 years in prison and a maximum fine of $50,000. The penalty for a second offense is 30 to 40 years in prison with a maximum fine of $500,000. Finally, the penalty for a third conviction is 99 years in prison and a maximum fine of $500,000.
- 250 Grams or More: Possession of 250 grams or more of fentanyl carries a penalty of life imprisonment at hard labor. 25 years of this sentence must be served without the benefit of parole, probation, or sentence suspension.
What To Do if Someone is Experiencing a Fentanyl Overdose
While Louisiana lawmakers are doing what they can to combat the ever growing drug overdose epidemic, there are steps that we can take, as individuals, to combat drug overdose as well. In order to do this, though, you must be aware of signs of fentanyl overdose and how to best save someone from this situation.
Signs of Fentanyl Overdose
Fentanyl overdose is a life-threatening situation that requires emergency medical intervention, or else, the person will die. If you notice somebody suffering from any of the following signs of overdose, take immediate action:
- Extremely pale and clammy face.
- Limp body.
- White people will have bluish lips and/or fingernails, while people with dark skin will have pale or gray-ish lips and/or fingernails.
- Vomiting and/or gurgling noises.
- Slow breathing or no breathing.
- Slow heartbeat or no heartbeat.
- An inability to speak.
What is Naloxone?
Naloxone, also known as Narcan, is an FDA approved medication that reverses opioid overdose. It works by blocking and/or reversing the effects of synthetic opioids in the human body for 30 to 90 minutes. If the person has taken a large amount of fentanyl or another powerful opioid, the effects of Naloxone can wear off after this time period, and the person can begin experiencing overdose symptoms again.
Naloxone can be administered as an intravenous injection or as a nasal spray. Anyone can get this medication without a prescription to keep on hand for emergency situations. The cost of Naloxone is covered by Medicaid in Louisiana.
If somebody has stopped breathing due to fentanyl or opioid overdose, inject or spray Naloxone immediately, and then call 911. It’s important to note that even if somebody has overdosed on a drug that’s not a synthetic opioid, that Naloxone will not cause further harm. It’s better to treat an overdose victim with Naloxone, even if you’re in doubt about what type of drug they took.
After you give the person Naloxone, begin CPR while you wait for medical personnel to arrive on the scene. Even if you’re not CPR certified, you can still do this – it’s just performing chest compressions at 100-120 beats per minute (or the tempo of Stayin’ Alive by the Bee Gees) and giving 2 breaths into the person’s mouth every 5 seconds.
Don’t let the fear of potentially causing CPR injuries to the victim deter you from saving their life. CPR is a naturally violent medical procedure that can break one or more ribs, but as long as you have purely good intentions to save the person’s life, the Good Samaritan Law in Louisiana will protect you from any liability.
Lastly, stay with the person until they receive emergency medical attention.
Call Baton Rouge Drug Crime Lawyers at the Law Offices of Ossie Brown Today
If you or someone you love is facing any sort of drug charges in Louisiana, now is the time to hire strong legal representation. The consequences of dealing fentanyl and other illegal drugs are becoming more and more serious as the years go on. The only way to protect your legal rights and receive the most fair penalty and conviction is to hire a Baton Rouge drug crime lawyer at the Law Offices of Ossie Brown. We have been protecting and defending Louisianans since 1984. Allow us to help you obtain the best possible case outcome. Call 225-343-1111 to schedule a free consultation at our law firm today.